This report is the continuation from the part I http://www.airliners.net/discussions/trip_reports/read.main/41753/, it contains spotting report as well as some holiday stories in Bali. For those who just want to read the flight report, just scroll down to the bottom part of the report.
Spotting @ Ngurah Rai International Airport
15 February 2004
The morning after the party, I woke up at 10 AM. Most of my family members will fly back to Jakarta that afternoon. Since I have free time until the 17th February, I decided to stay longer in Bali.
After moving my things and having lunch in RBCC, I called my friend, Hari, who’s working in the airport. He suggested to meet up in the domestic terminal. Since my dad is leaving to Jakarta on 3PM flight, I took a ride with him to the airport. I met Hari in front of Mandala Airlines ticket counter, and he took me to his office, below the control tower. Along the way to Hari’s office, I mentioned to him that my high school classmate worked in Ngurah Rai as an ATC back in year 2000. To my surprised, Hari knows him, and in fact he’s still working in the airport. So Hari called the control tower, and fortunately, my friend Bimo is working that day. Bimo invited us to go inside the control tower, and without thinking, I accepted the invitation.
Ngurah Rai Control Tower
It was my first time inside a control tower, and I have to admit that it is one of the best place to work. The view from the top is simply amazing. Bimo was surprised to see me popping up inside the control tower, since we haven’t seen each other for almost 5 years. I stayed for couple of hours in the tower, listening to the ATC conversation, taking pictures and also learning how the whole ATC system in Ngurah Rai works. I have to say that the ATC staffs from Angkasa Pura 1 were really friendly and helpful.
Remote and Domestic Apron from Control Tower
Spraying action from Garuda B737-400
Island-hopping F27 from Merpati
Star's MD83 takes-off
At around 5PM, Bimo invited me and Hari to go out of the tower. When I asked where is he taking us, he just replied , ‘Just wait and see..’ He took us to the ATC truck and asked us to hop in. Then he explained, ’We’re going to do the runway and apron inspection, so get your camera ready.’ This was the moment I’ve been waiting for, an airside tour of the airport . We went to the domestic apron first, then followed by the remote apron (with PK-GPC on maintenance and PK-KDK on storage), and cargo apron (which filled with biz jets, PK-OSP and ZS-PZA). After the cargo apron, Bimo radioed the tower, asking permission to enter the runway. Once the permission was given, we sped into the runway via taxiway N2, just after Garuda’s A330 landed. I must say, the feeling of speeding in the 3000m runway at 100km/hr was incredible. We exited the runway from taxiway N7 towards the international apron. Then, we made a u-turn, to enter the perimeter road along the airport boundary.
Chasing A330 in the runway
Tail view of Surya Paloh's PK-OSP
We stopped on the threshold of Runway 09, to take some pics, then continued to the ILS station, where I took couple of pictures of airplanes landing and taking-off. Our next destination was the meteorological station, at the end of Runway 27, another excellent spot to take pictures, then we moved on to the Runway 27 threshold, followed by the general aviation apron, which has some interesting aircrafts, like Skydive Bali An-2, Travira Air Cessna Caravan with floats, Indonesian Police Enstrom 280 and couple of Air Bali Bell Jet Rangers. From then we went back to the control tower via the cargo, remote and domestic aprons.
A330 meets B744..
A330 takes-off in sunset
Ngurah Rai Airport from the Runway 27 threshold
Skydive Bali An-2
I went up with Hari and Bimo to the control tower for a while, saying thank-yous to the staffs, while Bimo was briefing the next shift of ATC officers. After that Bimo sent me back to RBCC with his motorcycle. I took my dinner in RBCC, and went to my room to edit the pictures that I took, which were around 120 exposures, before retiring to bed.
Bimo (left) and yours truly inside Ngurah Rai Control Tower
The rest of the photos taken in Ngurah Rai Airport can be seen in http://www.jetphotos.net/showphotos.php?userid=827
Bali Island, Indonesia : Shopping and Sightseeing.
16 February 2004
On Monday, the 16th was the shopping and sightseeing day. I woke up quite early since my Mom was leaving for Surabaya that morning. She will tour around East Java with her high-school friends for a week before returning to Jakarta. After breakfast, I called my friend Hari, since I wanted to rent a car and he happened to know someone who can give me a very good rate. I managed to rent a Suzuki Katana, a small 1 litre car, for only Rp 100000 (US$12) for 24 hours.
After getting the car, me and Hari drove to Denpasar, first to Batavia Air office to collect air ticket, since Hari would be flying to Jakarta the next day. From there, we went to buy food specially made in Bali for my colleagues back in Singapore.
Hari wanted to show me a place called Dreamland Beach in Uluwatu, so we went back to Hari’s place for a while since he need to change his attire, then off we went. The journey took around 20 minutes, and the beach is magnificent. Uluwatu is the hilly part of Bali, south of Denpasar. Dreamland is situated in the huge real estate complex that belongs to Tommy Soeharto (ex-President Soeharto’s son). Before the Asian Economy Crisis in 1997, this place was in development to become a high-class housing estate in Bali. The landscape is marvelous, with roads cutting through the hills, lust vegetation on one side and sea on the other side. When the crisis hit, the development stopped, and the people who claimed that their land was taken without proper compensation for this project, took over the land, and made it a tourist object. The beach itself is not as nice as Kuta or Jimbaran, but it is more serene. For those who like a quiet place for suntanning or surfing, this is the place.
From Uluwatu, we drove back to the airport to fetch Bimo, then followed by lunch in the airport terminal.After lunch, Hari went back to his house, while Bimo and I went to Kuta and visit the beach that made Bali famous. On the way back, we drove past by the place where the bombing happened. There is a monument on the site, with the names of the victim listed there. The day was closed with a dinner and a movie, then I drove back myself to the hotel.
AO7829 RR), Indonesia">DPS-SIN
17 February 2004
ETD 2 :30 PM
I woke up around 9AM, and since I have to return the car by 11AM, I decided to drive to Sanur first. From Sanur, I drove straight to the airport to drop my luggage in Bimo’s office (a.k.a control tower), before returning the car. From the car dropping point, I walked back to the airport to take my lunch at McDonalds, before heading to the control tower to wait for my flight.
At around 1 PM, I went down to the International Terminal together with Bimo to check in my luggage. Security line was non-existance, so does the check-in line. Since from the control tower earlier, I know VH-OGM is again going to fly in this route, I asked the check-in lady whether rows 1-5 (Business Class cabin) were available. She made a short phone call to Qantas office in Bali, then told me the cabin crews requested those rows to be vacant. So I settled down with 25K instead. Then I went to settle my free fiscal tax application, which took me only 5 minutes. Since my flight won’t leave for another hour, me and Bimo went for a drink in one of the airport restaurant. We went back inside the terminal building around 2.15PM, and since Bimo has his airport ID with him, he walked me until the gate.
Boarding was announced shorly after I entered the gate, started with row 40 and above, then followed by the rest of the passengers. I boarded VH-OGM for another time, and greeted by the in-flight manager by the door 1L. She (I didn’t look at her nametag) asked me for my boarding pass, and showed me the way to my seat. I quickly found my seat and stowed my camera bag underneath the seat. The Economy Class seat on this plane was quite comfortable, and although it’s not as spacious as the Business Class seat that I had on the outgoing flight, somehow I felt it is more ergonomics. It is definitely more comfortable than the hard, thin padded seat on those ex-BA, RR-powered B763 in Qantas fleet that I’ve flown on July 2001.
At 2.30PM, the captain informed that we would be slightly late due to some late passengers. Door 1L was closed at 2 .40PM, after the ‘late’ passengers arrived and seated in the Businees Class cabin.. Later I found out that they were deadheading QF crews to SIN. Soon afterwards, we were pushbacked, and the captain’s voice was in the PA, this time he informed us the flight plan, that we would be turning left after take-off then maintain heading to SIN at FL380, which meaned that we would be passing the airport after take-off. Since the cabin was quite empty, and I wanted to take picture of the airport from above, I moved to seat 26A.
We taxied to Runway 09 via taxiway N7, and cleared for immediate take-off. Shortly after take-off, we banked to right and the overview of Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport with Kuta Beach was just nice for me to take the picture. Once the fasten seat belts sings were off, I moved back to 25K since the I predicted that we’re going to land at Runway 02L in SIN. Meal service started once the cruising altitude was reached, and the menu was... vegetarian ravioli... Arrggghh... what is it with Australian Airlines and vegetarian meals ?? Where is the famous Australian meat ?? Luckily I ate McDonalds before.. so I only took the banana cake, and leave the rest untouched. Anyway the quality of the service is still on par with the outgoing flight, e.g table ‘cloth’ and separate paper cup for coffee or tea.
Ngurah Rai Airport and Kuta Beach from the top
The crews for this flight were very friendly and attentive, although I found that the outgoing flight ones were friendlier, but nevertheless, AO crews did show a high quality of service standard on par with top Asian carriers like SQ and CX. Great job AO !!
Cruising at FL380
Cofee and tea were offered afterwards followed by clearing of the meal trays. For the remainder of the flight, I tried to sleep, but the flight was quite bumpy. The weather along Indonesia Archipelago wasn’t really great that time. I gave up the thought of sleeping when the FO annouced that we were descending to land at SIN. We took the normal approach from Batam Island, ten land on Runway 02L. Once we passed the runway threshold, I could see China Airlines’ A300-600, Garuda’s B737-300 and Malaysia’s A330-300 holding short for Runway 02L, with Thai’s A300-600 taxiing to joining the other 3 planes. Seemed like a busy time in SIN.
Batam's Hang Nadim Airport from the top
We taxied to gate C30, along the way I spotted Emirates’ B777-200, Air India’s A310-300 and Lion Air’s MD82. Once the airplane stopped, I quickly gathered my stuff and made my way to the door 1L, only to remember that I left my cap on my seat. So I had to turn back, with couple of ‘excuse me’, to grab my cap, and queued again.
Immigration in SIN was painless since I was one of the first who reached the immigration area. However, I observed that there’s no more special counter for Singaporeans and Singapore residents. I decided to skip the duty free shops and headed directly to the baggage claim belt. With the typical Singapore efficiency, the first bag came out just after I reached there, and my bag is one of the earliest, so I grab it and took the elevator the Basement 2 to catch a bus back to my apartment.
I have to say that I’m impressed with Australian Airlines. AO does surpassed my expectation of a low-cost airline. I even dare to say that my experience with AO is better than my experience flying QF couple of years ago. The crews for both flights were attentive and the service was top notch. The only gripe that I have about AO is the food. Okie, the presentation was great, on par with other full-fare airlines, but giving vegetarian meals without any meat choice is not really commendable. I believe there’s more non-vegetarian than vegetarian in the world’s population, so why don’t AO cater for the meat lovers (like myself), with special meal option to the others.
Anyway, I won’t hesitate to fly AO again if there’s a chance, but I will make sure I eat something first before flying...